5 p.m. Reception Laureate Bar and Lounge 444 Presidio Avenue
7:30 p.m. Screening, The Duke.
Introduction by Helen Mirren via Zoom
Critics are comparing the whimsy displayed in The Duke to the spirit and buoyancy of Frank Capra comedies. This new British entry falls into the category of life as stranger than fiction. It recounts an incredible true event from 1961 when a taxi driver climbs through a bathroom window at London’s National Gallery in the early hours and swipes Goya’s prized portrait of the Duke of Wellington. A kind of Robin Hood, he promises to return the painting if the government invests more in caring for the elderly. The film boasts crisp performances by Academy Award winners Jim Broadbent as the thief with charitable intentions and Helen Mirren as his shrewish wife. Roger Michell directs with the panache he brought to Notting Hill. UK 2020 (96 minutes)
Sponsor: British Consulate General San Francisco
Mary Anning was a famous 19th century paleontologist. Director James Lee reimagines her life as the stuff of romantic fiction with Mary (wondrous Kate Winslet) living a harsh existence, scouring the seashore (at the Undercliff in Lyme Regis, Dorset)for fossils and selling seashells to tourists for a living. She is locked away. Nothing to say. This changes when an overbearing fellow paleontologist visits. Unexpectedly called away, he hires Mary to care for his melancholic wife (winsome Saoirse Ronan). Slowly the film heats up, becoming super steamy as two of cinema’s finest fall in love—or is it lust? Mary Anning must be blushing in her grave! UK/Australia/US 2020 (117 minutes)
Co-Presented by Frameline
Whether you’re an opera lover, a fan of romantic comedies or just in the mood for a feel-good movie, you will fall for the gentle charm of Falling for Figaro. It’s the irresistible story of a young American financial whiz, who passes up a promotion with a London firm to pursue her impossible dream of studying opera in the Scottish Highlands, captured in all their glory. Her teacher is an eccentric diva played with hilarious abandon by Ab Fab’s Joanna Lumley. Competing in a national contest, the American novice finds herself up against a dashing fellow student. Romantic juices stir when the two are instructed to rehearse together. UK 2020 (104 minutes)
Joanna Lumley will introduce the film on Zoom
Sponsor: Bruce Lymburn
This intricate drama is in the admirable tradition of films that take off in unanticipated directions. After Love appears to track the peaceful life of a middle-aged Muslim couple in Dover, heavily invested in their faith. When the husband unexpectedly dies the film becomes an examination of his widow Mary’s strength after she discovers he’s shared a secret life with an independent Frenchwoman as different from Mary as can be. Be prepared for another twist when Mary infiltrates the life of her husband’s mistress. As the scorned wife, Joanna Scanlan elevates the movie with her sympathetic and riveting performance. Winner six British Independent Film Awards, including Best Film. Scanlan also is nominated for a BAFTA (the British Oscars) for best actress and her director Aleem Khan is up for best director. UK 2020 (89 minutes)
Co-Presented by SFFILM
We are thrilled to bring you this historical chronicle of the love affair between the Fab Four and this exotic country that began over 50 years ago. The Beatles and India is the first serious exploration of how India shaped the development of the band and the Beatles own pioneering role bridging two vastly different cultures. Rare archival footage, recordings and photographs and eye-witness accounts along with location shoots across India, bring alive the fascinating journey of George, John, Paul and Ringo from their celebrity lives to a remote Himalayan ashram in search of spiritual bliss that inspired a burst of creative songwriting. This will be the only chance to watch it on a big screen in the U.S. Directed by Ajoy Bose and Peter Compton. UK 2021 (96 minutes)
Mostly British thanks our new partner BritBox for supplying this joyful documentary to close our festival.
7:30 p.m. The Beatles and India
9:30 p.m. Party, Vogue Lobby
Remember “The Full Monty” (1997) from director Peter Cattaneo, the hilarious feature about unemployed steel workers reborn as strippers? Cattaneo’s fun new movie follows a different ensemble, the wives of deployed service men who take up choral singing. Kristin Scott Thomas does “posh” brilliantly as the meddling colonel’s wife on the army base who feels obligated to take the lead in boosting morale through uplifting activities to distract wives from the grim realities their husbands face in Afghanistan. Together with Sharon Horgan as a totally sympathetic, unaffected Irishwoman they forge a successful band of women who delight as choral singers and realize their unlikely goal. This warm and sensitive crowd-pleaser is based on a true story.
UK 2019 (112 minutes)
Sponsor: British Consulate General San Francisco
5:00 p.m Reception
Laureate Bar and Lounge, 444 Presidio Avenue, San Francisco.
Everyone is invited.
A sweet romance set against the greenery of Hampstead, a posh London suburb, is irresistible when the lovers of a certain age are played by Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson. Following the death of her British husband, Keaton finds herself financially strapped – an unusual predicament for a Hampstead resident. Gleeson is even further down the ladder, an Irish squatter living in a rancid shed. When neighbors try to evict him, she rushes to his rescue. The film is based on a true story but plays like a fairytale.
UK 2017 (102 minutes)
Sponsor: Fran and Gerry Schall
Ben Mendelsohn returns to his native Australia to make this touching family drama. He plays the psychiatrist father of a 16-year-old losing her battle against cancer. He and his wife manage to hold it together until their daughter, a beloved only child, falls head over heels for an older drug dealer with a magnetic smile and a touch of blarney. After initially warning her to stay away, the parents realize that this inappropriate beau makes their daughter feel alive. Based on a hit Australian play, Shannon Murphy’s first feature has been collecting raves at film festivals.
Australia 2019 (120 minutes)
Guest: Ben Mendelsohn
After a rich career in Australian films and television, including a breakout role in “The Year My Voice Broke,” Ben Mendelsohn became known internationally for the crime drama “Animal Kingdom.” Since then he has had roles in “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Rogue One,” “Captain Marvel” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” He won an Emmy for the Netflix series “Bloodline,” and is currently starring in HBO’s “The Outsider.” He will be interviewed by fellow Aussie James Wooley, the new executive Director of Frameline, San Francisco’s International LGBTQ+Film Festival. Wooley previously was head of marketing and customer relations at the Sydney Film Festival.
Sponsor: Australian Consulate General San Francisco
The beginning and end of a love affair are common fodder for movies. But what about the middle ground when you’re still perceptively in love? The fireworks may have calmed yet you can’t imagine life without your mate. This is the terrain covered in “Ordinary Love.” Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville turn in remarkably nuanced performances as a long married couple whose placid existence is threatened with the wife’s breast cancer diagnosis. Both uplifting and painful to watch while never sliding into melodrama, “Ordinary Love” forces a viewer to reflect on his or her own relationships and on mortality.
UK 2019 (92 minutes)
A disgustingly rich London fashion mogul called Sir Richard McCreadie –nicknamed “Greedy”– decides to throw himself an ostentatious Romanesque 60th birthday party on the island of Mykonos, going so far as to import the real live lion from the Colosseum scene in the movie “Gladiator.” Fresh off playing sad sack Stan Laurel, Steve Coogan glitters and glows as Sir Richard in a Roman toga and gold plated crown setting off his tan and alpha-male silver-grey hair. As obstacles mount, hideous truths are revealed about the host’s past. Prolific director Michael Winterbottom serves up, in the words of one critic, “a breezy, funny, unsubtle scattershot satire-melodrama all about the moral squalor of the superrich.”
UK 2019 (100 minutes)
9 p.m. Party Vogue Lobby
Everyone is Invited